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View Full Version : Sonia Gandhi Turns Down PM of India


Awimoway
May 18, 2004, 04:52 PM
Links:

CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/05/18/india.politics/index.html)
New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/18/international/asia/18CND-INDI.html?hp) (registration required)


I'm not Indian and I've never been to India. But I've always been fascinated by the history and politics of this nation. As a Commonwealth nation, India's news is followed rather closely in Britain and I lived in Britain when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. I'll never forget the long television broadcast of her funeral. I've also been impressed with what I know of the family patriarch, Jawarhalal Nehru, which I mostly learned from the movie Gandhi (it's not a lot, I confess).

Anyway, I've been very interested in the political events in India this week. The india National Congress Party stunned everyone by winning the national election, and now their figurehead is turning down the opportunity to become prime minister. Apparently she never even wanted to be in politics but she was so frustrated with what the Hindu Nationalists were doing to the country and her family's legacy that she felt obligated to step in and campaign. A lot of party members have been begging her to reconsider and have even been threatening their own suicides if she doesn't relent. Yet she is a mother and has her family to think about—her husband and mother-in-law were both assassinated and she doesn't want to follow suit.

I admire her courage both for returning the National Congress to power and for refusing such power. I admire her country for choosing a party led by a foreign-born citizen, and I'm saddened to see that racist attacks have been part of the reason she doesn't want to be prime minister.

themadchemist
May 18, 2004, 06:45 PM
India is saved! Gandhi's not PM! Manmohan Singh will very likely do a much, much better job!

I feel that Sonia Gandhi was always gunning for PM. It was pretty obvious that she was. I'd say she declined because she was pretty ridiculously unpopular--the woman isn't even that fluent in Hindi. She's an Italian interior decorator, not an Indian politician. I think her decision could have been influenced by the effect the news had on the stock market in Delhi...

Sol
May 18, 2004, 09:23 PM
A lot of party members have been begging her to reconsider and have even been threatening their own suicides if she doesn't relent. Yet she is a mother and has her family to think about—her husband and mother-in-law were both assassinated and she doesn't want to follow suit.

If Sonia Gandhi is turning down the Prime Minister's post because of her safety concerns then you could say that terrorism has won another battle. I wish I could say something philosophical about this but I am too dis-heartened. Imagine what those voters who gave the INCP their victory feel like. Democracy in India took two steps back today.

wdlove
May 18, 2004, 09:33 PM
``I was always certain that if I ever found myself in the position I am in today, I would follow my inner voice,'' she said. ``Today that voice tells me that I must humbly decline this post.''

It is very sad news. I respect her for being able to make a tough decision. She does plan to remain in government ad leader of her Congress Party/

x86isslow
May 18, 2004, 10:05 PM
My little op-ed piece from our school's forum.
--
Things Fall Apart.
The title Chinua Achebe's book gives an apt description of how one should view the curveballs that life throws at us. Recent events have led me to believe that this needs to be said more now than ever before.

I too, was disappointed by the failure of reform and the return of Socialist and Communist elements to mainstream politics in India. However, it is sad that people feel it necessary to go to the extreme of withdrawing FIFTY-FOUR BILLION dollars from the Indian market. The national Bourse- Bombay Sensex, lost a full ten percent of its value.

The fact that things do, from time to time fall apart is part of human nature. To paraphrase another piece of literature, the best plans of mice and men sometimes come to naught. The failure of reform to win does not deserve this hurried and hurtful response. It hurts the cause of reform.

To take the opposite perspective, investors succeeded in forcing Congress to retreat on its victory, and now India WILL NOT have a ITALIAN-born ROMAN CATHOLIC WOMAN as its prime minister.

Its a mixed bag, really. With the ascension of a woman to the highest position in the land would bring boons, doubtless, but the unsavory characters that it would have brought with it leaves it something for historians to debate for times to come, (what if..).

Now what happens? For one, we get to have a Prime Minister who is an ethnic minority (a first, no doubt). The reknowned economist, Manmohan Singh has been tipped to lead the Congress coalition. This does provide a glimmer of hope. Congress, too, has its reformers, and Singh is the most well known amongst them.

This, I think in the long term will lead to market stability - even today, rumors that Singh would replace Gandhi as the Congress nominee to form a government, sent the Sensex soaring some 371 points. The 8% gain is the single largest in the history of the bourse.

Things DO Fall Apart.
But HOPE spings eternal.
--

btw, i'm NRI(non resident indian- born in india, lives elsewhere, as an indian citizen)

elmimmo
May 19, 2004, 04:46 AM
I'd say she declined because she was pretty ridiculously unpopular.I guess that the fact that she was elected reflects that...

I know extremely little of India, but unless you expand on how come the party which she acted as head of got such a massive support from the population, even though she supposedly lacked any simpathy from the people, I cannot take your opinion seriously.